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Pournelle's Future History: Reading Order

While the Timeline describes the events that happen in the stories and their exact timing, this page tells you what order the stories should be read in.

Jerry Pournelle’s Future History series is divided into three sequences. Each of these sequences can be read independently of the others. But within each sequence, it’s best to read the stories in chronological order.

This page gives the order of the stories in each of the three sequences:

Jerry Pournelle is the author of many of these stories. The later Falkenberg stories are by Pournelle and S.M. Stirling. The Mote in God’s Eye and The Gripping Hand are by Larry Niven and Pournelle (and are usually filed under "N", not "P", in bookstores); Outies is by Jennifer R. Pournelle. The War World stories are written by a variety of authors, with Pournelle and John Carr as overseers – these are filed under "P" in bookstores, unless you’re lucky enough to live in a city with a dedicated science fiction bookstore, in which case they may be under "Anthologies" or "Shared Universes". To determine the author of a specific story, see the complete Bibliography.


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The CoDominium Stories


These are the stories of the CoDominium, the mega-state formed by the American-Soviet alliance which dominates Earth during the twenty-first century.

You can acquire these stories in one of two ways. (1) Four paperback books (Falkenberg’s Legion, Prince of Mercenaries, Go Tell the Spartans, Prince of Sparta) plus the short story “He Fell Into a Dark Hole.” (2) One hardcover book (The Prince) plus the short story “He Fell Into a Dark Hole.” The Prince combines the contents of the paperbacks, plus four pages of new material. Completists will want to get The Prince for those extra four pages, but they can be skipped with little loss for those who prefer the paperbacks. As you can see from the following sequence, The Prince was not assembled in the correct chronological order.

The chronological reading order of these stories is as follows:

Note that the books West of Honor and The Mercenary are not listed in this reading order, because these books were completely incorporated into Falkenberg’s Legion (and subsequently, into The Prince). If you are interested in the publication history of these books, see the Bibliography.


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The Second Empire Stories


These stories are set during the Second Empire of Man, in the thirty-first century. Most of them deal with humanity's first contact with an alien species.

The best chronological reading order of these stories is as follows:

The three introductory pieces ("Motelight", "In Memoriam: Howard Grote Littlemead", and "Reflex") may be hard to find. If you can't track them down, just skip them. (Remember, the authors deleted these stories from the book, so they aren't essential!) The Mote in God’s Eye is one of the greatest science-fiction novels ever written, and is highly recommended – with or without these prequels.


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The War World Stories


As I mentioned above, the tales in the War World books are in a complicated order.

The first War World books were short-story collections, published in paperback format (one of which was later issued in a second edition). These books, and the abbreviations used for them, are:

Next, several novels were published. Most of them were expanded versions of some of the previously-published short stories:

Finally, a new batch of short-story collections, published as hardcovers and ebooks, were released. These included many new stories, as well as reprints of some of the stories from the paperback collections. Unlike the paperback collections, these were mostly arranged chronologically:


Simple reading order option

The simplest reading order takes advantage of the fact that the latest short-story collections are mostly chronological. It also avoids purchasing books that duplicate stories in other books.

First, read these short-story collections: War World: Discovery, War World: Takeover, War World: Jihad!, and War World: The Patriotic Wars. These stories relate the story of Haven from 1990 until 2103.

Next, read these novels: The Battle of Sauron (2nd edition), War World: The Lidless Eye, and War World: Cyborg Revolt. These novels tell of the Secession Wars and the arrival of the last remaining Saurons to the planet Haven in the twenty-seventh century.

Finally, read these novels: Blood Feuds and Blood Vengeance. These novels tell a dark story (inspired by classic Greek tragedies) that takes place on Haven from 2940 to 2993.

The upside of this reading order is that it allows you to read the vast majority of the stories without having to buy books that contain duplicate stories or to skip back and forth between the books you have. The downside is that some stories are omitted, and in a few cases the stories are not read in chronological order (although they are close enough that you won’t notice the difference).


Complete reading order option

To read all the Haven stories in chronological order, you will have to acquire every War World book except for the first edition of The Battle of Sauron. (Each of the other War World books contains at least one story that isn't duplicated elsewhere. In particular, this means you will need the second edition of The Battle of Sauron, and both editions of War World: The Burning Eye.) Once you have these books, the following list of stories shows you the correct reading order to follow.

In this reading order, each short story or passage is followed by an indication of which book it is in. If it appears in multiple books, they are all listed, separated by equal signs. For example, the very first item (“The Lost and the Founder”) appears in three books – CoDominium: Revolt on War World, War World, Volume I: The Burning Eye (2nd edition only), and War World: Discovery – each of which is listed by its abbreviation, with the page numbers of the story indicated. Of course, if you purchase the ebook editions you won't see any page numbers, but the stories can be found in the table of contents.

In addition to stories, these collections contain some short texts that are often untitled. In this reading order, I have described such items and their locations in the books so that they will be easy to locate.

Novels are listed in all-capital letters.

When stories overlap, I have put them in the best reading order rather than try to intertwine them. However, there are a few times that there was no way to avoid breaking a story up into pieces due to other intervening stories. See the Timeline for full details of the dates of each story.

This whole list is chronological, but I have broken it down into separate "sagas" to give it more structure. If you read all the stories in order you will end up with the best and broadest sense of Haven’s history. But if you’d rather jump into some other point, it is best to at least keep each of these "sagas" intact!

The War World stories are listed in black font. The CoDominium and Second Empire stories are listed in in green font: include these stories if you want to read the complete Future History!


The Founding of Haven — 1990’s to 2040’s

“The Lost and the Founder”:    WWCD 1-6  =  WWI(2nd) 29-32  =  WWD 13-16.

“Discovery”:    WWI(1st) 1-8 (entitled “Prolog: Discovery”)  =  WWI(2nd) 34-40  =  WWD 17-27.

“The Garden Spot” prologue (Overton at Luna Base):    WWD 24-27.

“The Garden Spot”:    WWCD 7-48  =  WWD 28-63.

“Haven’s Day-Night Cycles”:    WWI(1st) 279.

Crofton’s entry for Bureau of Corrections:    WWD 64-66 (before “In Concert”).

Crofton’s entry for Church of New Universal Harmony:    WWCD 49-54.

“In Concert”:    WWCD 55-109  =  WWD 67-114.

“The Shimmer Stone Scam”:    WWD 115-124.

“To Win the Peace” prologue (Ulrich’s on 26th CD Regiment):    WWTO 11-14.

“Nothing In Common”:    WWD 125-163.

“Hell’s-a-Comin’”:    WWD 164-180.

“Counterpoint”:    WWD 181-225.

“Astronomy Lesson”:    WWD 226-228.

“On Jordan’s Stormy Banks”:    WWD 229-262.


Deportees and Corporate Rivalries — 2050’s

“Janesfort War” prologue (Cole at Luna Base):    WWCD 110-113  =  WWI(2nd) 74-771  =  WWD 263-265.

“Janesfort War”:    WWCD 114-182  =  WWI(2nd) 78-141  =  WWD 266-325.

“To Win the Peace”:    WWTO 15-89.

Haven Atlas entry on steppes:    WWIII 80-81.

“Steppe Stone”:    WWD 347-369.

“Last Chance”:    WWD 326-346.

Part of “Down the Rabid Hole”:    WWD 370-383 only (everything except epilogue).

“The Raid on Purity”:    WWTO 90-115.

“Marching on Poland”:    WWTO 116-125.

“Enough Rope” prologue (Maxwell Cole in orbit):    WWTO 126-128.

“Enough Rope”:    WWTO 129-210.

FALKENBERG’S LEGION, Prologue.   (Same as THE PRINCE, pp. 7-17.)


The Mahdi Uprising and Other Wars — 2060’s to 2084

“Haven”:    WWI(1st) 9-12  =  WWI(2nd) 23-25.

“More Precious Than Rubies”:    WWTO 211-266.

FALKENBERG’S LEGION, Part One.   (Same as THE PRINCE, pp. 18-173; the map on p. 6 is useful here.)

“High Jingo”:    WWJ 17-26.

THE PRINCE, pages 174-176.

“The Coming of the Dinneh” prologue (Senate hearing on Indians):    WWCD 183-186  =  WWTO 267-269.

“The Coming of the Dinneh”:    WWCD 187-226  =  WWTO 270-308.

“Business As Usual”:    WWTO 309-314.

“Alexander’s Sword”:    WWJ 27-58.

“The Consultant” prologue (Planet on the Move):    WWJ 87-90.

Part of “Jaguar”:    WWI(2nd) 44-66 only (stop midway through Part VI, at paragraph beginning “After a short interview”).
[Note: This story begins in 2068, not 2081 as stated in the text.]

“The Consultant”:    WWJ 91-114.

Part of “Jaguar”:    WWI(2nd) 66-71 only (remainder of story).

“Pound-Foolish”:    WWTO 315-326.

“He Fell Into a Dark Hole.”. This short story is a bit hard to find. It originally appeared in Analog, March 1973. It was reprinted in Black Holes and Other Marvels (1978, ed. Pournelle) and again in There Will Be War, vol. 5: Warrior (1986, ed. Pournelle). Even if you aren't reading the other CoDominium stories, this is recommended, since the next story is its sequel.

Crofton’s entry for military research (first version):    WWI(1st) 42-43  =  WWI(2nd) 144 (before “Toymaker and General”)  =  WWJ 59 (before “Escape From a Dark Hole”).

“Escape From a Dark Hole”:    WWJ 60-86.

“The Denisovan Flu” prologue (Two Crofton’s entries):    WWI(2nd) 196.

“The Denisovan Flu”:    WWI(2nd) 197-201 only (sections dated 2042 and 2077).

“Across the High Plains”:    WWJ 115-186.

“Peace At Any Price” prologue (Crofton’s on the Brotherhood):    WWJ 187-189.

“Peace At Any Price”:    WWJ 190-320.

Crofton’s entry for Bureau of Relocation:    WWI(1st) 13-15  =  WWI(2nd) 41-42 (before “Jaguar”)  =  WWJ 321-322 (before “Dream Valley”).

“Politics of Melos” prologue (Paulsen presentation at BuRelock):    WWCD 227-233  =  WWTO 327-332.

“Politics of Melos”:    WWCD 234-298  =  WWTO 333-393.

FALKENBERG’S LEGION, Part Two, prologue and chapters 1–11.   (Same as THE PRINCE, pp. 177-286.)

“Dream Valley”:    WWI(1st) 16-41  =  WWJ 323-348.

Part of “Atalanta”:    WWTO 394-425 only (stop at end of “Meritocracy” section).

PRINCE OF MERCENARIES, chapters 12, 13, and most of 14 (pages 134-171, ending with the words “the cheering began”).   (Same as THE PRINCE, pp. 388-414.)

“Day of Judgment”:    WWPW 63-122.


The Later CoDominium Era — 2086 to 2094

Crofton’s entry for military research (second version):    WWPW 60 (before “Measure of Some Gravity”).

“A Measure of Some Gravity”:    WWPW 61-62.

“Karelia Redux” prologue (Waltham in Castell City):    WWPW 123.

“Karelia Redux”:    WWPW 124-165.

“On the Back of a Tiger”:    WWJ 349-410.

Shawley on Sauron genetic engineering:    WWPW 166 (before “Toymaker and General”).

“The Toymaker and the General”:    WWI(1st) 44-53  =  WWI(2nd) 145-153  =  WWPW 167-176.

“What the Dinosaurs Knew”:    WWJ 411-422.

“Hang Together” prologue (Kronov in Moscow):    WWCD 299-304  =  WWPW 177-180.

“Hang Together”:    WWCD 305-332  =  WWPW 181-206.

“The Edge of Darkness” prologue (Whitlock on decline of CD):    WWPW 17.

“The Edge of Darkness”:    WWPW 19-52.

“Sons of the Northern Plains”:    WWPW 207-273.

PRINCE OF MERCENARIES, chapters 1–11.   (Same as THE PRINCE, pp. 291-387.)

PRINCE OF MERCENARIES, remainder of chapter 14, and then chapters 15–27.   (Same as THE PRINCE, pp. 414-529.)

FALKENBERG’S LEGION, Part Two, Chapter 12.   (Same as THE PRINCE, pp. 287-290.)


Fall of the CoDominium — 2094 to 2113

Troop request from Edgar Blaire:    WWCD 367-369  =  WWI(2nd) 156-157 (before “Fire and Ice”)  =  WWPW 297-298 (before “Rostov’s Zeks”).

Crofton’s entry for military research (third version):    WWPW 274 (before “Fire and Ice”).

“Fire and Ice”:    WWCD 370-392  =  WWI(2nd) 158-178  =  WWPW 275-296.

GO TELL THE SPARTANS.   (Same as THE PRINCE, pp. 611-857; the map on p. 860 is quite useful.)

THE PRINCE, p. 533.

FALKENBERG’S LEGION, Part Two, Chapters 13–22.   (Same as THE PRINCE, pp. 534-610; the map on pp. 4-5 is useful here!)

“Our Reliance Upon Orbital Decay: Rostov’s Zeks”:    WWPW 299-371.

“Farewell to Haven”:    WWCD 393-396.
[Note: The dating on this story is questionable; see When Did the CoDominium Abandon Haven? for details.]

“Behind Closed Doors” prologue (Major Flint at Fort Camerone):    WWPW 372-377.

“Midwatch”:    WWI(2nd) 180-193.

“Behind Closed Doors”:    WWPW 379-384.

PRINCE OF SPARTA.   (Same as THE PRINCE, pp. 859-1151.)

“The Sylph in the Tinderbox” prologue (Whitlock’s History of Sauron):    WWPW 385-386.

“The Sylph in the Tinderbox”:    WWPW 387-441.

“The Denisovan Flu”:    WWI(2nd) 201-205 only (sections dated 2096 and 2105).

Part of “Atalanta”:    WWTO 426-431 only (remainder of story).


The First Empire of Man — 2250 to 2603

“Tribute Maidens” prologue (Marine Recruiter’s Manual):    WWI(1st) 278  =  WWI(2nd) 444.

“The Field of Double Sowing” prologue:    WWII 291-292.

“Brenda” prologue:    WWII 166-167.


The Secession Wars — 2603 to 2640

“Necessity” prologue (McGraw’s on Jarnsveld’s Jaegers):    WWI(1st) 227-236  =  WWI(2nd) 396-404.

THE LIDLESS EYE, prologue.

“The Deserter” prologue (Habsburg on Imperial Marines):    WWI(1st) 54  =  WWI(2nd) 208.

“The Deserter”:    WWI(1st) 55-105  =  WWI(2nd) 209-254.

THE BATTLE OF SAURON (2nd edition), prologue.

“Rate of Exchange” prologue (Emperor Has No Clothes):    WWI(1st) 106-108  =  WWI(2nd) 255-256.

THE LIDLESS EYE, chapters 1-6.

“The Face of the Enemy” interlude (Chinthe design notes):    WWII 7.

THE BATTLE OF SAURON (either edition), chapters 1-31.

“The Coming of the Eye” prologue (Action Report on Fomoria escape):    WWI(1st) 144  =  WWI(2nd) 305.


Sauron Invasion — 2640’s

THE BATTLE OF SAURON (2nd edition), chapters 32-34.

THE LIDLESS EYE, chapters 7-10.

“Introduction”:    WWIV 1-13.

THE LIDLESS EYE, chapters 11-18.

“The Railroad”:    WWIV 17-45.

THE LIDLESS EYE, chapters 19-26.

“The Boatswain” prologue:    WWIV 125-126.

“The Boatswain”:    WWIV 127-162.

CYBORG REVOLT (entire novel).

“A Mouthful of Eels”:    WWI(2nd) 372-394.

“The Great Beer Shortage” prologue:    WWI(1st) 214-215.

“The Great Beer Shortage”:    WWI(1st) 216-226.

“The Railroad” prologue:    WWIV 15.

“Strong Blood” prologue:    WWII 140-141.

“Strong Blood”:    WWII 142-165.

“Necessity”:    WWI(1st) 237-277  =  WWI(2nd) 405-441.

“The Gift of the Magi” prologue:    WWIV 163-168.

“The Gift of the Magi”:    WWIV 169-213.

“The Gates of Paradise”:    WWIII 11-79.


The Fall of the First Empire — 2650’s to 2670’s

“Brenda”:    WWII 168-219.

Part of the “Some Things Survive” prologue (Transcript of INSS Centurion log):    WWII 221-223 only, beginning with "This transcript".

“Some Things Survive”:    WWII 224-260.


The Second Generation — 2660’s to 2708

“A Little Beastliness” prologue:    WWIV 215-218.

“A Little Beastliness”:    WWIV 219-256.

“Those Who Lose” prologue:    WWIV 257-261.

“Those Who Lose”:    WWIV 263-282.

Part of “Down the Rabid Hole”:    WWD 384-387 only (epilogue).

“Kings Who Die” prologue:    WWIV 283-284.

“Kings Who Die”:    WWIV 285-333.

“No Such Thing as a Non-Lethal Weapon”:    WWII 262-274.

Quote from Galen Diettinger:    WWIII 9-10.

Quotes from Lady Althene:    WWII 261; WWIII 167.

Quotes from Breedmaster Caius:    WWII 275, 349-350.

Quotes from Ruth bat Boaz:    WWIII 174, 205-206.

“Loved Not I Honor More”:    WWII 276-290.

“Maitreya and the Cyborg”:    WWIII 82-115.


Return to Barbarism — 2740’s to 2910’s

“Building a Pillar”:    WWIII 117-132.

“Tribute Maidens”:    WWI(1st) 280-309  =  WWI(2nd) 445-471.

"Motelight". This was originally intended to be the prologue to The Mote in God’s Eye, but it was cut to shorten the final book. It was later published as part of the article "Building the Mote In God’s Eye" (printed in Galaxy, January 1976; reprinted in A Step Farther Out [1979, Pournelle], and reprinted again in N-Space [1990, Niven]). "Motelight" appears near the beginning of the article "Building the Mote in God’s Eye". Within this article, the story "Motelight" is printed in italics, and ends with the words "for one hundred and fifteen years." The rest of the article is an essay that should not be read until after you have read The Mote in God’s Eye!

"In Memoriam: Howard Grote Littlemead". This is Larry Niven’s rewrite of "Motelight", in verse! It was published in the hard-to-find Niven’s Laws (1984, Niven). Very optional.

Bar Lev’s account of eugenics experiments on Haven:    WWI(1st) 363-366 (after “Discovery”)  =  WWI(2nd) 523-525 (after “Rediscovery”).

“Rediscovery”:    WWI(1st) 361-362 (entitled “Discovery”)  =  WWI(2nd) 521-522.

“Some Things Survive” prologue (Barton discovers transcript of INSS Centurion log):    WWII 220-223.

“Aegir’s Children” prologue (Atlas and Grishnak report):    WWIII 133-134.

“Aegir’s Children”:    WWIII 135-166.


The Tragic Cycle — 2920 to 2993

“Shame and Honor” prologue:    WWIII 268-269.

Quotes from “A Student’s Book”:    WWIII 1, 8, 81, 116.

“Ceremonies at the Last Bar in the Village”:    WWIII 168-173.

Map of the Pale:    WWIII 175.
[Useful when reading Blood Feuds.]

BLOOD FEUDS, prologue and chapters 1-5.

“Tayok’s Base”:    WWII 399-403.

“War World Economics”:    WWIII 2-7.

BLOOD FEUDS, chapters 6-23.

BLOOD VENGEANCE (entire novel).

“Shame and Honor”:    WWIII 270-356.
[Note: The canonicity of this story is questionable; see Haven Ambiguities for details.]


The Second Empire Era — 31st Century

"Reflex". This was originally intended to be the first chapter of The Mote in God’s Eye, but it was cut to make the novel shorter. It was later printed in There Will Be War vol. I (1983, ed. Pournelle).

THE MOTE IN GOD’S EYE.

Optionally, you can now read the remainder of the article "Building the Mote In God’s Eye".

KING DAVID’S SPACESHIP. This novel takes place at the exact same time as The Mote in God's Eye, but should be read after it to avoid spoilers.

“Haven’s Hell”:    WWI(2nd) 526-555.

“A Lion to the Sea” prologue (Chronicle of the Norskuna):    WWI(1st) 310-313  =  WWI(2nd) 474-476.

“A Lion to the Sea”:    WWI(1st) 314-360  =  WWI(2nd) 477-518.

THE GRIPPING HAND.

OUTIES.


Note that the stories “The Field of Double Sowing”, “Far Above Rubies”, “Juchi the Accursed”, and “Seven Against Nûrnen” are not listed in this reading order, because these stories were incorporated (in an expanded form) in the novel Blood Feuds. The story “Sons of Hawaii” is not listed, because it was revised and expanded as “Sons of the Northern Plains”. Similarly, the stories “Rate of Exchange”, “The Face of the Enemy”, “The Coming of the Eye”, “A Better Kind of War”, and “Death’s Head Patrol” are not listed, because they were incorporated (and expanded) in the novels The Battle of Sauron, The Lidless Eye, and Cyborg Revolt. Finally, the first edition of The Battle of Sauron is not listed here, because part of its text were reprinted in the second edition (chapters 1 to 31 are identical in both editions), and the remaining portions were reprinted in The Lidless Eye and Cyborg Revolt. So even though these items are not included explicitly in the reading order above, they appear under alternate names.

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Jerry Pournelle's Future History . . . . . Reading Order
Updated 22 February 2018 by Larry King

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